Hello! I can’t believe it, but it’s already the third Tuesday of the month. So, I’m linking up with Ashley and Erika for their Tuesday Talk link up where you chat about whatever you’d like to talk about!
With school starting back up, and eighteen years in education under my belt, I thought I’d chat about why I chose to be a teacher.
To be honest, I always wanted to be a teacher. I played school a lot as a kid…but I remember liking setting up a desk area, organizing my teacher supplies, writing and coloring and then being done with it. No real teaching going on. (I also used to do the same thing as a kid playing with Barbies. I’d set up Barbie’s house, get Barbie and her friends clothed and organized and move on to the next activity!) The creative side of my brain lacked at that point, but my organizational/Type A brain made up for it.
This says so much about me…of course, I actually like the teaching part too!, but I make my classroom feel like home. I want students to feel comfortable in my classroom while learning and interacting with their peers. I always feel so much better about school starting once my classroom is unpacked and organized.
I always generally liked school. I understood the importance of getting good grades and having a plan for the future. I struggled in school with math, but I always loved reading and writing.
My mom was a middle school Language Arts teacher for 31 years. I remember visiting her at school, drawing on her classroom board, and helping her grade papers. Her best friend taught Reading right next door to her. They even shared a wall that opened, so they could co-teach their classes.
My love for reading and writing combined with strong role models as teachers set the tone for my future plans.
I loved elementary school, and had wonderful teachers. Once I got to middle and high school, my English/Language Arts teachers always stood out to me fostering my love for learning and my desire to be a teacher.
I remember sitting in my first education class in college and the professor asked us to introduce ourselves and share why we chose the field of education. I shared that I’d always loved school and had so many wonderful teachers who made an impact on my life. I wanted to do the same for my future students.
I was shocked when so many shared about wanting to be teachers because they’d such a negative experience in education. They had teachers who weren’t passionate about their jobs, didn’t take the time to get to know their students, or were uninterested in helping students achieve their goals.
I realized right then how truly blessed I was to go to the schools I went to and have the teachers that I had throughout my educational career.
I hoped to create lessons that excited my students, build caring relationships, and provide opportunities for young people to grow and achieve in my class.
Also, I’m a planner. Even when I chose my major in college (and never once switched majors), I knew that some day when I was married and had kids how great it would be to the extra time in the summer with them. My mom was always home with us in the summer, and we rarely had a sitter. So, I knew those summers off would be necessary to recharge, but they would also be a good set amount of time to have quality time with my family.
Of course, experience is key. You can only read so many textbooks or plan so many lessons, but it’s the experience of being in the classroom, tweaking lessons, working with students, differentiating instruction, and thinking on your feet that really helps your classroom and your students feel like yours.
Every single year, in March, I make notes in my lesson plan book of what I want to do differently or strategies and activities I want to implement the next school year. Not that I can’t try some of those strategies or activities at the end of the year, but in August, teachers set the tone of their classrooms. 😉 I’m forever learning. I want to know more and do better each and every day.
College and practicum opportunities didn’t prepare me for the heartache and worry that comes with being a teacher. Sometimes, your lesson plans shift because teenagers need to talk. There are kids that are more resourceful than you are because they’ve had to bounce from house to house. There are students who are sad, angry, and lonely…and school is the only place that soothes those worries. There are students who are hungry, and their only two solid meals of the day are the breakfast and lunch that the school cafeteria provides.
Through the years, I’ve gained perspective and sympathy. Also, it didn’t take me long to realize that most class periods needed to include time for interaction, and that sometimes the class content needs to wait. It’s more important to meet the students and their needs where they are because they deserve that.
Of course, I feel an immense amount of pride seeing my students overcome obstacles, master content, and succeed at their goals. I love nothing more than seeing a student walk across the stage at graduation, tell me about their post-high school plans, and come back to visit me and fill me in on what they’ve been up to in the next chapter of their lives. I hope I’ve made an impact on my students while encouraging them to try their best and be life long learners while keeping a plan for their future in mind.
I think we all know and agree that educators everywhere came together last spring when the country was (and continues to be) in crisis. Teachers packed backpack meals for students who would otherwise go hungry, made phone calls home, visited students (from a distance) to check in on them, created curriculum and provided instruction for a variety of learners who did and didn’t have the resources to learn from home. I feel blessed to be in a profession that comes together through thick and thin for the sake of our students.
Through my 18 years in education, I’ve earned one Bachelor and two Master’s degrees. I’ve taught at four different high schools. I’ve been a teacher. I’ve been a literacy coach. I’ve been an interventionist. I will always fight for my students, work with my peers, and take pride in my profession.
Oh…a couple more things I’ve learned through the years…
to always write my lesson plans in pencil…and there’s no tired like teacher tired (especially during the first few weeks of school!)
I know it may be a school year like we’ve never seen before, but I have faith in the teachers, the students, and the parents. We’ll get through this year together, and we’ll make the most of it.
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I hope everyone has a great school year!